Evaluating an agency partner to redesign your website with WCAG accessibility now means vetting a vendor’s ability to deliver on compliance. At Primacy, we increasingly see accessibility requirements baked into RFP’s—particularly in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, education and financial services.
While the requirements may be spelled out in the RFP, only a handful of sites make it to Launch Day with true accessibility compliance. Instead most agencies provide “Best Practice” accessibility. The big difference between built-in “Best Practice” accessibility and actual accessibility compliance is testing and remediation. There’s no path to compliance that doesn’t include testing and remediating against your chosen standard.
We’ve prepared 7 tips for successfully navigating a vendor partnership and achieving compliance together:
Detail your expectations clearly in the RFP
Use exacting language that refers to your standard, including what you consider success and how you will measure it. Call out the importance of accessibility in RFP Q&A to underscore its importance. Choose a specific standard as your compliance requirement goal—we highly recommend WCAG 2.0 A & AA. Clearly define requirements for all asset types – Web, PDF, Chat, E-mail and Video.
Request a specific accessibility line item in the SOW
A separate line item makes it easier to isolate requirements, assumptions and scope. The separation gives you insight into the time and effort that is being allocated to insuring compliance and forces the agency to provide details.
Expect to pay 5% to 10% more of the base project cost for full WCAG compliance
Accessibility compliance requires thought, planning, effort, testing and remediation. Including compliance at no additional cost can be a red flag that their team doesn’t fully grasp the expertise and effort necessary to deliver a site that conforms to your standard.
Compare Apples to Apples
Make sure competing RFP responses are providing equivalent services. Do they provide equal levels of testing? Is Content Author training included? Are the warranty periods equivalent? Lower pricing quickly becomes higher pricing when revisions are needed because the effort fell short of the requirements.
Ask how the vendor plans to validate compliance
Look for experienced testing capabilities. Ask about programmatic, manual and functional testing. Does your partner validate their efforts using assistive technology? Look for keyboard-only, screen reader and mobile a11y testing.
Request clear examples of the agency’s accessibility experience
Ask about recent projects and how accessibility is integrated into their process and project lifecycle. Look for holistic approaches to compliance that start in Strategy and UX and extend all the way to Development and QA.
Understand that it’s a partnership
A significant portion of compliance will always be on your shoulders. At some point your agency partnership will be complete. From that moment on, your own internal teams must to be ready to maintain compliance. It will be your responsibility to maintain accessibility as you add content and develop pages.
For more information about Primacy’s capabilities visit our ADA Accessibility page.